Written and Illustrated By Isabel Dickey
I think it goes like this:
They laundered money from Europe to the United States. My dad was the brains, my mom did the books. My dad traveled throughout Europe doing “business” – Paris, Prague, and London.
Then he landed in Portugal.
They spent their cut on jewelry. Piles of Rolex watches, gold rings for every finger, and a dozen pairs of diamond earrings – they thought they were some sort of elegant Bonnie and Clyde. They had been doing this for years, but it all came crashing down in Portugal.
They didn’t know people had caught on.
Always scheming, my dad cut a deal and left Lisbon with only one condition – don’t ever come back. When he got home my parents got married and had kids.
The Greater Philadelphia area and cushy careers in mortgages and publishing swallowed them up and hid them away.
Or actually, maybe it went like this:
My dad went on a Peace Corps trip with his friends to west Africa, and when it was over he made a detour on his way home. Several detours, actually – Paris, London, Prague, and finally, Portugal.
My dad had always loved to party. My parents had been dating a while, and my mom wanted him to slow down to her speed. She made him stop smoking cigarettes, he was drinking less, and he was taking the heat for chewing tobacco. She was building his credit and cleaning up his life.
My dad decided to really let it all out in Portugal. Then it was the final stop: one last night, one last party. The headlines read “Drunken Bar Fight Leaves One Dead.”
Always steady on his feet, he got out of Lisbon with only one condition—don’t ever come back.
On his way home he called my Mom and proposed—leaving the party behind.
But, here’s the truth:
My dad was kicked out of Portugal, and he’ll never tell anyone why.
If you ask him?
“That’s a story I’m taking to my grave.”